The canceled projects at Wright–Patt include $3.15 million to replace a cooling tower and condenser water lines serving three buildings for the Air Force Research Laboratory and a renovation for Wright-Patt’s Building 15 for $802,000.
Brown blasted the decision to strip money from Wright-Patt to pay for Tyndall Air Force Base, saying the Senate should’ve simply passed the House emergency appropriations bill.
“This never should have happened,” he said. “The House of Representatives passed disaster funding months ago and the Senate could pass it today if President Trump and Congressional Republicans would stop playing political games with Puerto Rico and do their jobs.”
Sen. Rob Portman, R–Ohio, who voted for the GOP version of the bill, said Tuesday he was “aware” of the decision to divert money from projects at Wright–Patterson to support recovery at Tyndall and Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, which recently suffered flooding.
“I understand that in the absence of supplemental funding the secretary must make hard choices to maintain operational readiness,” he said, saying he voted for funding that “could help avert this situation and restore these critical projects to Wright Patterson.”
“I will work with the secretary’s staff to assess the impact to Wright Patterson and do everything I can to ensure these critical projects at Wright Patterson are funded,” he said.
Rep. Mike Turner, a Dayton Republican whose district includes the base, said the Air Force “has been forced to cannibalize its own funding because of hurricane damage to U.S. Air Force bases.”
“Funding that would solve this is currently stalled in the Senate,” he said. “When this funding becomes available, we will have the opportunity to seek replacement dollars for other Air Force needs.”
Wilson threatened in a tweet that the Air Force may have to cut more projects if Congress does not pass a disaster relief bill.
“These are just the 1st decisions we had to make…We will be forced to cut more critical facility & readiness requirements if we don’t receive it by May/June,” she tweeted.
Wright–Patterson also currently faces the possibility of cuts or delayed funding for already–approved construction projects, including the first installment toward a $182 million building to house the National Air and Space Intelligence Center at Wright-Patterson. NASIC is currently housed in an outdated, World War II–era building.
But that funding is now at risk because the Trump administration is seeking military construction money through an emergency declaration to help pay for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. In all, $112 million worth of such projects might be at risk in Ohio.
Dayton Daily News reporter Max Filby contributed to this story.
The Dayton Daily News this week published a series of stories on the impact of Wright-Patterson Air Force base in the Dayton region.
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